A Conversation for The Avebury Neolithic Monument, Wiltshire, UK
njan (afh) Started conversation Sep 29, 2003
DaveyFlex Posted Sep 30, 2003
Seconded - this entry brought a nostalgic smile to my face. Thanks very much!
My father's family came from Avebury (one of his ancestors was apparently rector of the church in the 17th century); I was christened there; my father's three brothers, and his parents, are all buried there. It's always been one of my favourite places. As children, we used to stay there for two-three weeks in the summer and it was absolutely magical. It was a different village then - all the old cottages were occupied by locals, not rich outsiders. There was a butcher's shop cum grocers, with all the meat processing taking place on the premises, and a delivery van to take people's orders to the villages round about. That whole complex is one large private house now. There was an outdoor model railway in the walled garden of the manor house - now long gone. There was a curious, small outdoor swimming pool in the school grounds that was open to the public during the summer - now also gone.
I was most recently there a couple of years ago when we buried the last of my dad's surviving brothers. It seemed very sad that I was unlikely ever to go back - I now live in the north of England and have no reason to go to Avebury other than nostalgia.
That particular uncle worked for English Heritage (and its several previous incarnations - the Commission, DoE etc.). He was responsible for looking after the stone circle, the Sanctuary, Silbury Hill and West Kennet Long Barrow. He used to cut the grass, put up information boards, mend fences, tidy up the barrow etc. The latter task came about because people used to go up there in the dead of night to, erm, meditate, often with the aid of various mind-expanding substances. My uncle had to tidy up the rubbish they left behind.
He also blagged a trip to the centre of Silbury Hill when it was excavated in the 1960s!
There was also a great-uncle who was once photographed at work in the fields, leading a massive hay-wain. That photograph was massively enlarged and occupied a large part of one wall of Avebury's Great Barn Museum.
Thanks again for the trip down memory lane.
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